Monday, July 25, 2011

The Adventures of Captain Faasha

“What are you doing?” she blurted throwing herself against the controls.
“Trying to save your life!” Drokkan answered flipping switches and pushing buttons around Faasha; evading her attempts to block him.

“By blowing up the ship?” she demanded.

Drokkan grabbed her shoulders; his gaze intense as he held her attention “Faasha, the Phluvoigh won’t stop until you’re dead! Shields are at 17 percent. How much longer do you think we can hold them off?”

“I don’t know!” she pulled away from him pacing down the bridge. She had evacuated the ship so her crew was safe except for Drokkan who insisted on staying with her. “Check the tactical database. There must be a maneuver the Phluvoigh can’t anticipate.” Faasha said holding onto a chair as the shields blocked another onslaught of phaser torpedoes.

“We’ve tried over 80 different maneuvers; if there was only one Phluvoigh vessel we’d probably stand a chance, but three of them?” The tactical computer burned out in a fit of sparks sending Drokkan flying against the front view screen.

“Drokkan!” Faasha flew forward bending down by him.
“I’m okay.” He croaked getting up stiffly with Faasha’s help. The front of his uniform had scorch marks and the fabric was fused to his skin. He dangled his left hand which was burned and useless. A quick check told them that shields were down to 6 percent.

“Captain, are you going to give the order or do I have to mutiny? Drokkan looked at her, a twinkle in his eye; his crooked smile reminding her of his bravery on past missions.

“Alright, set the ship to self destruct. We’ll go down in a blaze of glory!”
“Who said we were going down?” Drokkan teased amidst coughs that threatened to overtake him.

“Explain.” She said not understanding the glint in his eye.

“Do you remember Plexus 9?” he grinned.

“The Plexus 9 Maneuver? That’s a theoretical maneuver based on multidimensional models!” Faasha said incredulously.

“All you need is a nebula and a small uninhabited satellite.” His grin grew wider.

“Where is the nearest nebula?” Faasha asked before she crashed against the wall by the force of the latest phaser torpedo.

“There’s a nebula just up ahead and the navigational computer detected the remnants of a small planet that must have been torn in the opposing gravitational pull.” He said as he helped her up. Faasha supported her broken arm coughing up blood.

“How much time do we need?” she said her voice making wet sounds as if she was underwater. Drokkan sat her on the command chair and quickly programmed the navigational computer with the right coordinates that would take them in the nebula’s direction.

“They’re matching our speed but I think we can make it in three minutes.”

“Computer, this is Captain Faasha. I command this ship to self destruct code N4901-SD03.” The chirp of the computer acknowledged receipt of command.

“Computer, this is Lieutenant Commander Drokkan. I second the command for self destruct code D9925-SD03.”

The chirp of the computer sounded again with an electronic response “Self Destruct Sequence Executed. The ship will destruct in three minutes.”

“We’re cutting it close, don’t you think?” she asked looking at the view screen and firing phasers with her left hand. She was racing against time as it seemed to fly faster than warp speed.

“Nothing we can’t handle. I’m programming the Captain’s Yacht for separation before impact.”

Another assault on the ship set systems on fire, smoke filling up the bridge quickly making visibility difficult.

“Faasha!” Drokkan roared coughing and searching for her.
“On my way, Lieutenant” She responded amidst bloody coughs as she got up from the floor nursing her broken arm.

The ship’s electronic voice reported shields at 1 percent. “Self destruct in 30..29..28..” The ship’s computer continued the countdown as Drokkan dragged Captain Faasha into the turbo lift. The turbo lift jostled them as the ship rocked from multiple phaser fire.

They entered the Captains Yacht and Drokkan secured the Captain before taking his seat and sealing the hatch. The countdown continued “12..11..10”

“Initiating separation, warp factor two!” he shouted as the shields couldn’t compensate for the force of take off.

“Do it!” Faasha gurgled as she was pressed against her seat by the impact of the gravitational momentum.

The Phluvoigh vessels stopped pursuit abruptly as they realized the ship was on a suicide course with a satellite planet and watched the massive explosion as the ship made contact. Undetected by the Phluvoigh, the Captain’s Yacht had successfully separated from the main ship and remained hidden in the nebula.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stories as Time Capsules

It’s interesting to see how some expressions in a story capture the societal views of the time in which it was written. Reading the classics is a wonderful thing. It makes me appreciate how literature employs grammatical artistry. But there are times that sprinkled throughout a work of fiction you’ll find traces, if not full-out in your face, racism.

I’m reading a children’s book that was originally copyrighted in 1911. That was a century ago and, of course, the views were quite different then. It was quite ordinary and acceptable to make statements that today would ignite ire in many people.

For example:

“I dare say it’s because there’s such a lot o’ blacks there instead o’ respectable white people. When I heard you was comin’ from India I thought you was a black too.”

“You thought I was a native!” You dared! You don’t know anything about natives! They are not people – they’re servants who must salaam to you. You know nothing about India.”

Wow. I know that this is a work of fiction and that it’s the characters who are expressing this opinion within the world the writer created. I’m not going to start a debate about racism in writing and the difference between Indian ethnic groups and Black ethnic groups. However, I am stating that this novel portrays the racist attitudes and beliefs of that time.

So, the social separation between groups of people was very pronounced and very strictly observed. This has been preserved in the story like a time capsule. I have been observing stories that reflect things which we would now consider to be in poor taste. To me this is a look into the past; and it shows me, a bit more poignantly than my history lessons taught me, how the world used to be.